“We’ve had a number of calls about ‘inaccuracies’ in your letter to the editor,” a member of my hospital’s media relations team told me. “Because of that, we’ll have to review it.” I had written a letter to the editor of our city’s major newspaper regarding immunizations and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s vaccine court. I was responding to another letter alleging that the court’s mere existence meant vaccine ...

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Many people have skills they develop for work that they end up using outside of their job. Some of these skills may be mundane, some may be difficult to master and some may be only tangentially related to their job. Mechanics are probably asked by family and friends to help all the time with cars making strange noises. Lawyers are asked by to help fix speeding tickets. Accountants are asked if ...

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On a recent vacation in St. Lucia, I came across this mama nursing her babies. “Public breastfeeding. How great!” I thought. But, after posting this picture on Facebook, these were some of the responses: “Yikes! They need to be weaned!” and “they are pretty big to be still nursing.” This, of course, got my head whirling about people’s attitudes toward breastfeeding. On the surface, ...

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Ask babies with fever how they feel, and they’ll say … well, they probably won’t say anything, because they’re babies. But ask older kids, and they’ll look at you funny, and maybe say “Why are you asking me?” Kids these days, am I right? Fevers make kids feel bad. Achy and miserable and bleh. So for comfort, I think it’s a good idea to treat fever in a child who’s uncomfortable. ...

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I occasionally dip my toe into the constant Internet flame wars over the generous term "vaccine skepticism," and the less generous "vaccine denial." If you’re looking to see one of these quickly, Twitter always has some ongoing vaccine fireworks. The character limit of Twitter tends to compress the exchanges into hurled invectives, only occasionally punctuated by futile pleas for calm. Many quickly devolve into exchanges between posters of what they believe to ...

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A few thousand years ago, a talking snake convinced a child to pick a piece of fruit, squeeze it really hard, and drink whatever came out. The kid liked it, obviously, because what’s not to like about juice? So the next day at preschool, he told all his friends to ask their parents for juice, too. Some of them said the magic word; others just whined until their parents gave ...

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To my fellow physicians: I apologize for asking you to do one more job. But I must. It is for the sake of humanity. We are already overburdened with the administrative nightmare that hospitals and insurance companies heap upon us. The struggle to find pride and purpose in our daily life has become a full-time job. We have become oppressed by our increasing allegiance to the demands of administrators as opposed to ...

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"Doctor, I need some orders for this patient. Can you do that soon so that I can get started?" I was just bringing up a preterm infant to NICU due to concerns for maternal infections. Yes, it was July 3, 2016 — my first official day of residency where I was no longer “just” a medical student. I was a doctor! My initial reaction was to look around me, thinking (and hoping) ...

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In a little piece of legislation known as the Affordable Care Act, preventive services are mandated to be covered with no out-of-pocket expense to consumers. According to the Healthcare.gov website, approved insurance plans must cover a “list of preventive services for children without charging a copayment or coinsurance.” Number 18 on that preventive care list is childhood immunizations for children from birth to age 18, acknowledging regional variation in the standard ...

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A small study published this month showed that most Epipens retain their potency for at least 4 years after their expiration date. That’s no guarantee, of course. I’d still recommend as a “best practice” that families replace them as they expire. But it’s reassuring to know that they’ll usually be effective even when expired. And using an expired EpiPen is almost certainly better than using nothing ...

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